Rotronics RFC12

Submitted: Monday, May 12, 2003 at 22:30
ThreadID: 4872 Views:6732 Replies:9 FollowUps:24
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Goodaye,

I am keen to hear from anyone with good and bad experiences with the Rotronics RFC12 isolator.

I would rather hear from anyone who has actually owned and used one.

thanks
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Reply By: Allyn - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 22:35

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 22:35
I have RDC12M and am 100 % satisfied. Into my second year now and on past history would have bought another 2 batteries by now so am already about $350 closer to having it pay for itself.
Sleep much easier now knowing that no matter what I will always be able to start my cruiser.
Hope this helps
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Follow Up By: Andy - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 22:42

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 22:42
Thanks Allyn,

Thats one vote to Rotronics. looking forward to more replies
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Follow Up By: Andy - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 22:44

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 22:44
Allyn,
Just for interest sake, what isolator did you have before?
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Follow Up By: Allyn - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 23:02

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 23:02
Cole Hersey and not worth a pinch of the proverbial
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Reply By: Member - Sam (NSW) - Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 09:01

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 09:01
Andy,

like Allyn, I too have the RDC12M isolator and have been very happy with its performance. Its the first dual batt system I have owned. I didn't want to have to think about switching between batteries all the time, plus I also wanted to ensure the batteries we're kept as healthy as possible, so the RDC12M fitted the bill and it hasn't let me down.

cheers,
Sam.
AnswerID: 19843

Reply By: Autolec - Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 09:47

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 09:47
Get a Redarc or GSL battery isolator for substantially less money and reliability Redarc or GSL are about $125 incl GST and they do not have high failure rates like other overly complex expensive brands
AnswerID: 19852

Follow Up By: Hoffy - Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 10:55

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 10:55
I have looked up the specs for the Redarc isolator. They do not give you any real specs and appear to be a high priced solenoid with a few electronics to give you remote control?? Hence the cheaper price. Forgive me if I am wrong. My guess is that if your starting battery is fine and your secondary is flat the flat battery is dumped in parallel with the good unit when using the Redarc. My understanding is that with the smarter units like Rotronics the charge of both batteries is sensed and the charge is switched individually between both batteries until both are charged up to a certain charge and then both batteries are charged in parallel. Perhaps Rod from Rotronics can confirm the operation of the unit. My Rotronics has served me well over the years. The first LC series 80 battery lasted 8 years (that was good luck)

Keith
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Follow Up By: Autolec - Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 13:57

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 13:57
Suggest you go back and read again the information on the Redarc website
The Redarc unit only charges the second battery when the main battery is charged
If you want to charge the second battery independently it is easily enough done with the Redarc unit. The electronic switch to do it is around $40 No real necessity in the majority of installations
With the number of faulty battery units that are replaced the basic functional units are reliable and work
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Follow Up By: Andy - Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 19:25

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 19:25
Autolec,

You clearley have something against the Rotronic's units, and this may be justified. I don't know. But if the Rotronic's units are more complicated, then possibly they are more prone to failure. But if they actually do the job better, then there must be some consideration in using them if they have a good warranty. I am wondering why you have not sent some of these so called faulty units back to the manafacturer as Rod seems to be a very aproachable fella. Is it fair to can the product publically without at least letting him defend himself?

I am interested to hear more from any one else on the subject.
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Follow Up By: Member - Sam (NSW) - Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 20:09

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 20:09
Autolec,

I am also keen to know how long after you installed these Rotronics units in your customer's vehicles that they failed and also under what conditions they failed. I would like to know for my own peace of mind, as from what I have read on this forum and also in many other places, the Rotronics units seem to have a much higher success rate, contrary to your claims.
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Follow Up By: Mark - Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 21:23

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 21:23
I have had a GSL isolator fitted for 3 years now. Since fitting it I have never had to worry about it & it has performed very well. It is a cheaper option as I paid $109 from WES components ($120 now I believe). It is a parallel charge isolator so it does take a little longer to charge the aux battery as with all parallel systems. The problem is that most alternators these days are voltage sensed & when a fully charged main battery is paralled up to the Aux battery the alternator see's the voltage of the main fully charged battery and subsequently reduces its charge current. The way around this problem is to pay a bit extra and fit an independant charge system like the Rotronics RFC-12, as always it comes down to what your budget is. I went for a parallel system that cost under $300 including an Exide Extreme battery, works a treat but probably takes an hour or two longer to charge the Aux battery than an independant system. The GSL isolator uses relays rather than solenoid & will not switch in the Aux battery until the main is fully charged.
Cheers
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Follow Up By: brett - Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 12:20

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 12:20
I'm currently using a GSL also and they work by putting the AUX in parallel after main battery voltage is above about 13V, same as most isolators. Your comments about the alternator sensing the main battery volts as high and reducing the current are not quite right. Your main battery may be at 14.2V with the alternator running and yes it will not provide much current as it's fully charged but when you put the flat aux battery accross it the voltage will drop to somwhere in the middle of the flat and charged battery, so it may drop to 12V and the alternater will provide plenty of current. Get a volt and current meter and take some measurements. I can have a fully charged main bat and a flat aux and when the aux gets switched in I can measure it sucking in approx 50A and ther main taking about 2A.
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Follow Up By: Autolec - Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 07:25

Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 07:25
Sam we have never fitted any Rotronics units. We have only replaced Rotronics units that customers have come in that have been faulty
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Reply By: cruiser - Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 11:43

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 11:43
Rotronic are crap from my experience. have had 2 and both failed. Will NOT have an electronic module to control my batteries. have had 3 4x4 with manual control and only way to go. You have control and know what is going on. Much better.
AnswerID: 19862

Follow Up By: Autolec - Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 13:44

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 13:44
We have replaced more Rotronics systems that all other brands combined
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Follow Up By: Member - Sam (NSW) - Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 14:10

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 14:10
approx. how long after initial installation have the Rotronics units failed and under what conditions?
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Follow Up By: cruiser - Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 14:38

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 14:38
1st one was after approx 18 months and with little or no 4wding.
2nd one was in vehicle when I bought it so don't know how long it had been in but I only had the car four 6 months and it failed.
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Follow Up By: Mich Brown - Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 21:10

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 21:10
first rotronics box bleep after 9 mth replacement failed 3 mth then dealer fit a bosch box great
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Follow Up By: Member - Chris (W.A.) - Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 01:05

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 01:05
W.A. Police department and emergency services use the manual switch overs - nothing wrong with them - proves cheaper options work better!!Love the bush.
Chris
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Reply By: Member - Topcat - Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 12:37

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 12:37
I have had one fitted in my vehicle for the last 13 years with no problems what so ever. The unit first detects the charge in my start batteries & if they are below 75% charge will not send a charge to my auxillary batteries until the start batteries are fully charged. Have Wheels Will Travel
AnswerID: 19869

Follow Up By: Autolec - Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 13:45

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 13:45
The Redarc units as you have found out are reliable.
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Reply By: Phil G - Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 21:10

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 21:10
My first Rotronics unit was bought in 1987 and is still going in a friends vehicle - thats 16 trouble-free years. I upgraded to a Rotronics MH10 three years ago when I bought the Prado so I would have spike and alternator protection - and this unit has also been trouble free. The chap at Rotronics is good to talk to as he knows his stuff and doesn't give you the BS that the 4wd shops hit you with.

Problems with the electronic isolators (all brands) often stems from poor installation - bad connectors and poor earth leads. Some of the new vehicles (like Toyota) run alternators that vary their voltage output according to current sensing. Poor connections and wiring usually means poor battery charging with these systems.
AnswerID: 19928

Reply By: -OzyGuy- - Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 13:44

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 13:44
Andy,
no one has mentioned the Piranha DBE 150S Dual Battery Isolator.
being fully electronic it does not have the usual low tech Bi-metal circuit breakers, which often do not blow quick enought. They also do not have the usual nut & bolt attachment on the unit, the actual battery cables are manufactured direct onto the circuit board as a one piece cable kit.
They do have a 3 year warranty.... and they work.
They first charge the main battery to 13.5 volts then they start to charge the second battery, it will also disconnect the second battery from charge if the first battery drops below 12.8 volts.
They are more expencive than the units mentioned, however you dont have to buy any thing and you can fit them yourself, if you are handy.
I have not heard of any failing on the Forum..... that says something.
AnswerID: 20017

Follow Up By: Autolec - Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 07:35

Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 07:35
The Piranha unit is just a GSL unit that is anodised red with a bit of cable on it and you will pay double the price for that privilege. The GSL battery isolator can be purchased for the same price as a Redarc

No units to my knowledge use "low tech Bi-metal circuit breakers".
The nut and bolt setup to connect the cables is preferential to having the cables directly connected
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Follow Up By: -OzyGuy- - Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 11:14

Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 11:14
Autolec,
Hi, I'm not havin a go at you or your own thoughts on electrics, I am only asking you Questions here to gain knowledge.

# Can you please tell me what a "GSL" isolator is ??

# If " No units to my knowledge use "low tech Bi-metal circuit breakers", as you say, then are ALL units Electronic ??

My Piranha unit does have a three year waranty and is made of a sealed Black "bakerlite" type material, I was informed that the Nut & Bolt connections some times come loose & the crimping fails.
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Follow Up By: brett - Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 15:20

Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 15:20
I have a GSL and have heard the piranha is the same but the GSL is in an aluminium heatsink type case (no idea why it is as there is nothing connected to the heatsink!)where as the piranha seem to be plastic and different shape, so I'm not sure they are the same. However the function of the 2 units is the same. I know piranha say their unit is fully electronic but I'm not so sure, my GSL unit is electronic but still relies on relays to switch the battery in. It's current limiting is electronic as in it doesn't rely on a bi metal strip as mentioned before. But for me to be totally electronic as Piranha claim I would think the switching would be done with transistors or Mosfets. Can someone confirm what the DBE150 uses to switch? My 150A GSL unit cost $110 where as the DBE150 I think is about $260 or higher depending on what model.
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Follow Up By: brett - Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 15:22

Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 15:22
Also the cable as opposed to nut & bolt connector does seem like a good idea but I put some Locktight on the nuts to be sure and never had a problem
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Follow Up By: Autolec - Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 18:01

Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 18:01
Piranha had a model that was identical to the GSL. I see it is now missing from their website.

Andy looks like you have studied the Piranha website quoting it verbatim. Are you a Piranha sales person or a commission agent.

If you are the least bit handy you could build the MOSFET kit from DSE or Jaycar for $49.93

For the GSL unit www.gsl.com.au/products/ebi.shtml
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Reply By: -OzyGuy- - Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 22:57

Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 22:57
Autolec,
Hi, No i'm not a rep, commision agent or in any way connected to Pirrahna. yes, I did quote the information direct from the brochure I recieved when I purchased my DBE150S, only to make sure that I was quoting the manufacturers facts.

I have the isolator installed and can't fault it, however the product you are 'pushing' may be as good or even better, I have no idea, and make no claim that one is better than the other, that is the reason I asked you the questions in an earlier post, lets remain friends...
-OzyGuy-
AnswerID: 20164

Reply By: Member - Nigel - Friday, May 16, 2003 at 07:16

Friday, May 16, 2003 at 07:16
I've had an RFC12 for over 12 months. I have a N70ZZ starter battery and a Federal 90 Ah deep cycle for the Aux.

I am impressed with how quickly the Federal deep cycle recharges with this setup.

Only problem I've noticed is that the main battery doesn't get quite enough charge when I only do very short trips for a month of so. Rotronics manual warned me of this problem and if you get the monitor you can lock out the Aux and only charge the Main when doing only short trips. Usually I do at least one decent trip a week (100-200km) so no need to buy the monitor.
AnswerID: 20179

Follow Up By: Andy - Tuesday, Jun 03, 2003 at 21:07

Tuesday, Jun 03, 2003 at 21:07
Nigel,

You say you are impressed with how quickly the system charges the deep cycle. Is this compared to another system you have had?
I currently have an Arrid system, but have been told that the Rotronics will charge alot faster. Everything I have read seems to tell me this is the case.
Any feed back would be much appreciated.

cheers

Andy
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Follow Up By: Member - Nigel (QLD) - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2003 at 07:54

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2003 at 07:54
I have not had any other systems, but had been told to expect a deep cycle to take quite a few hours to recharge. I find I only need to drive for 1 or 2 hours a day to keep everything running smoothly.

The rotronics system like mine (and I think there is one other brand) is designed to charge either the starter battery OR the aux, so each battery gets the full alternator charge in turn. Normal systems charge the main battery, then bring the aux in parallel with the main so the alternator is charge a half flat aux and a full main at the same time.

With deep cycles the type of battery plays a part in recharge time too. If you can get a deep cycle that also has a high CCA then it will have lower internal resistance and will therefore accept charge quicker. My 90 Ah Federal (got it at battery world) has a CCA of 575 which makes it an ideal 4WD aux as it could start my vehicle if my main battery died.
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Follow Up By: Andy - Wednesday, Jun 04, 2003 at 12:56

Wednesday, Jun 04, 2003 at 12:56
Nigel,

thanks for the feed back

regards

Andy
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